These are two countries that are geographically distant from each other, about 6,500 km. Nevertheless, relations that strengthen convergent politics include respect for sovereignty, national unity and territorial integrity.
On September 18, Ambassador Nazim Samadov organized a round table in Rabat on the topic: “Azerbaijan after the war in an important stage of its history”. It is dedicated to the 100th birthday of Heydar Aliyev, the national leader of the Azerbaijani people. The presentation was held by the head of the diplomatic mission of this country, and presented by El Mostapha El Ktiri, High Commissioner for former members of the resistance and former members of the Liberation Army. Several other interventions marked this meeting: Anar Karimov, “Cooperation between ICESCO and Azerbaijan”; Nami Salihy, “Report on Cultural Heritage in the Karabakh and East Zangezur Regions of Azerbaijan”; Mohammed Benhamou, “Azerbaijan, a dynamic country in an unstable region”; and the author of this column “Morocco Azerbaijan: Crossing Perspectives”.
A shared memory
This country has a population of more than 10 million inhabitants, an area of 86,000 km2, a GDP of 75 billion dollars, a country in Western Asia located in the Eastern Transcaucasia bordered by Russia, Georgia, Armenia and Iran and the Caspian Sea. Its population is 97% Muslim, including about 75% Shia. During this event, El Mostapha El Ktiri highlighted the relations between Rabat and Baku: the historical path of liberation for independence, common memory, building a state that restores its sovereignty after the French protectorate for the Kingdom and Soviet supervision, finally national cohesion supported by a strong identity. The two countries also share a common adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter, especially those of peace, respect for the sovereignty and independence of states, non-interference in internal affairs, as well as a foreign policy of cooperation.
Regarding the nature and dimension of bilateral relations, the political dialogue was initiated thirty years ago with the participation of President Heydar Aliyev in 1994, at the Islamic Summit held in Casablanca, and his meeting with HM Hassan II. Heads of diplomatic missions were appointed by Baku in 2006 and Rabat in 2009. In 2018, Azerbaijan supported Morocco’s territorial integrity and autonomy plan for the final solution of this national issue. It should be remembered that Baku is also faced with separatism in Nagorno-Karabakh and that Rabat stands in solidarity with this country. During the work of the first joint commission in 2018, Azerbaijan reiterated its support to the Kingdom. The second meeting is scheduled for next November.
Progress in cooperation
Cooperation is strengthening in several areas. Therefore, in the military domain, complementarity between the two partners is on the table and subject to deeper examination. Contacts are made regarding perspectives in this area. The Minister of Administration responsible for the administration of national defense Abdellatif Loudyi discussed this with his counterpart Madat Guliyev on the sidelines of the international defense conference IDEX 2023, held on February 21, 2022 in Dubai. The potential of cooperation is interesting for Morocco with Baku’s expertise in the production and use of unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as in new technologies in modern warfare. Other sectors should also be mentioned: civil aviation, trade, energy and tourism – in this matter, the abolition of visas is on the agenda… The same applies to the direct air connection between Baku and Casablanca, promoting investments with a mixed chamber of commerce and an adapted and stimulating regulatory frame.
Parliamentary cooperation is progressing. In mid-May 2023, the Speaker of the House of Representatives Rashid Talbi Alami, on an official visit, spoke at the seat of the Azerbaijani Parliament in Baku with the Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic Sahib Gafarova. The joint statement emphasizes their “pride” in the quality of liberal relations based on mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity. Moroccan diplomacy has also seen Morocco’s active participation in the parliamentary work of the Non-Aligned Movement, a network created at the initiative of Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Haliyev.